Iraq clamped a raft of draconian new security rules on its war-torn capital on Wednesday amid mystery over the whereabouts of radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, whom United States officials say has fled to Iran. US defence officials claimed that the anti-American cleric had travelled to Tehran two or three weeks ago.
The last phase of the turbulent trial of Saddam Hussein on charges of crimes against humanity resumed on Monday with a boycott by the deposed Iraqi leader and key members of the defence team. The Iraqi high tribunal said it would continue to hear the defence's closing arguments with or without Saddam or his lawyers.
A daytime gun battle in the capital between Sunni insurgents and Shi'ite militiamen prompted the Iraqi government to tighten the Baghdad curfew on Friday as 22 people died in two bombings. The street fighting on Haifa Street on Baghdad's west side broke out after militiamen loyal to Shi'ite radical leader Moqtada al-Sadr's Mehdi Army came under attack from Sunni Arab gunmen.